Seven New Zealand bucket list experiences
1 Exploring Te Whakarewarewa
Located just 3km from the city of Rotorua, Te Whakarewarewa is a spectacular thermal reserve renowned for its bubbling steam and boiling pools, which are still used for cooking. Steeped in Māori cultural significance, the ‘Whaka’ (as locals call it) is home to the largest active geyser in the southern hemisphere, the Pōhutu geyser.
To see the ‘Whacka’ for yourself, fly into Auckland and grab a hire car to complete the easy three-hour drive.
2 Biking the vineyards of Hawkes Bay
The North Island’s Hawke’s Bay region is home to some of the country’s finest vineyards and orchards. Pack your bike and prepare to ride past fields of apples, figs, peaches and grapes as you eat your way through this lush countryside. Accommodation in the nearby town of Napier can set you back about $200 a night.
3 Instagramming from Lake Pukaki
Follow the Hobbits and visit one of New Zealand’s most Instagrammable locations - Lake Pukaki and Aoraki (Mount Cook). Housed within the Aoraki National Park, visitors to the region can spot red deer, Himalayan goats and summertime blooms, including mountain daisies and edelweiss.
There are a number of luxury or budget accommodation options on the outskirts of the national park.
4 Canyoning in the Torrent River
For those who crave an adrenalin rush, canyoning in the Torrent River is a must. Located on the South Island within Abel Tasman National Park, the Torrent River offers adventure amongst crystal seas, lush forest and rugged river systems. Pack your wet weather gear and a sense of adventure for this bucket list item!
Because Abel Tasman National Park covers such a vast area, it’s a good idea to book overnight accommodation in one of the nearby towns. Most surrounding hotels have rooms for around the $200 mark.
5 Seal-spotting in Kaikoura
If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience of the furry kind, you can’t go past seal spotting at Kaikoura. Watch these friendly creatures spin and swim in the ocean before they come up to rest and catch some sun rays on the limestone rock ledges.
Kaikoura is about a 2.5hr drive north-east from Christchurch, so your best bet is to hire a car and road-trip it!
6 Unwinding at Spa Park
A visit to Spa Park is essential for those in need of a bit of pampering. Soak in the geothermal hot springs or let Mother Nature give you a massage under the waterfall while you relax and unwind. The temperature of the water ranges depending on when you choose to bathe – the hot streams and can leave you sweating or with goosebumps and it’s all determined by the temperature, rainfall and river level.
Stay in nearby Taupo (it’s just a 25-minute walk to Spa Park from the town central) which shouldn’t set you back more than $200 a night.
7 Spotting TV-stars at Piha
Made famous by the reality TV show, Piha Beach is one of New Zealand’s most rugged coastlines. With hot black sand and unruly surf conditions, Piha is perfect for a beach picnic.
Piha is less than an hour from the centre of Auckland, so it’s simple to hire a car and do a day-trip to this spectacular part of our country.
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